Former triple j breakfast host and, you know, that guy you’ve probably seen somewhere, Tom Ballard is one of the more exciting, young voices in Australian comedy.
His new show, with the indisputable title 'The World Keeps Happening', finds Ballard justifying his reputation as a bright, new talent without offering much that's especially new.
Ballard is an extremely likeable chap and it's always a pleasure to watch someone who's as comfortable onstage as he is. He's happy to let a joke sit for a few beats as he sips from a water bottle before delivering another punchline.
Ballard is at his best when talking passionately about things he clearly feels strongly about, like sexism and homophobia. His impersonation of a bogan homophobe ("Backs against the wall, fellas!") is particularly funny, as are his musings on the irony of misogynists telling women to get back in the kitchen when "your mother is the kitchen that cooked up the shitty casserole that is you".
Ballard sometimes enters territory that's a little too well trodden (vegans, child labour, burqas), but he usually has the charm and wit to pull it off. But some topics he broaches like: Tony Abbott eating a raw onion and hipsters insisting on the correct pronunciation of pho feel like soft targets that should be put to rest, but they still draw hearty chuckles from the crowd.
Some of the biggest laughs of the night come from the interactions between Ballard and Mark the rigger, a particularly vocal bloke (and I mean Bloke with a capital B) in the audience. Mark the rigger is exactly the kind of character comedians love to toy with, and Ballard knows he's onto a good thing as he repeatedly brings Mark back into the fold. Ballard is impressively quick on his feet when he strays from the script in these exchanges.
Tonight's performance (15 March) captured the continued development of a distinctly millennial comedic voice.
Ballard will likely be on our stages and screens for years to come. Let's just hope he continues to go deeper, rather than tackling obvious comedic fodder.
Tom Ballard appears at the Brisbane Comedy Festival until 20 March.